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Old 02-02-2009   #1
George L. Singleton
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Default Port of Gwadar, Pakistan

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/south_asia/6469725.stm Note a 2007 report.

This gives some focus to the discussions over the past weekend of the now in operation Port of Gwadar, Pakistan.

Note in particular that China is or will build railroad lines to and from this port for transhipments to closest border with China...which can be inside Pakistan or across India.

If inside Pakistan you are talking a railroad construction job akin to building the railroads through the Rocky Mountains here in the US "back when."

Very interesting stuff.

Last edited by davidbfpo; 04-25-2009 at 11:09 AM. Reason: Added note 2007 BBC report
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Old 04-25-2009   #2
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Default Robert Kaplan chimes in

Found Robert Kaplan had written a short piece on the port too of Gwadar: http://www.theatlantic.com/doc/200905/kaplan-pakistan

Note this article also appears on another thread: http://council.smallwarsjournal.com/...ghlight=gwadar

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Old 04-25-2009   #3
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Default 1

I read Kaplan's piece in the Atlantic. I 've read most of his books and look forward to his articles. Two of the interesting points of the recent article are the investments by the Red Chinese and the inevitable changes for the traditional livlihoods of the residents.
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Old 06-12-2011   #4
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Default China’s View of South Asia and the Indian Ocean

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Originally Posted by Backwards Observer View Post
Ray, thanks for replying. Do you think a military alliance between the US and India would be a potent enough deterrent to China? What are your feelings on the likelihood of such an alliance/pact from the Indian side?
India is said to be having a 'strategic relationship' with the US.

It has meant buying US equipment and some naval exercises and some visits of military personnel.

Earlier the US troops were trained at the Indian Jungle Warfare and Counter Insurgency School, had exercises in Ladakh (High Altitude), some HAHO exercises with the Indian Paratroopers, and some naval and air force exercises.

I presume it was more for interoperability and little in the way of strategic alliance.

There is no doubt that a US - India military alliance would be a deterrent to China and maybe that is why there is closer cooperation between India and the US in many fields, beyond defence, to include economically making India a challenge to China.

However, India has to tread carefully since abandoning Russia would make it closer to Pakistan and a Russia - China - Pakistan axis will not be in the interest of either India or the US.

While most Indians root for the US, yet even amongst them, quite a few are sceptical about US' reliability as an 'ally', in the military and strategic sense, since US is not taken to be quite in the mould of a 'friend in need, is a friend indeed'.

India is not an Anglo Saxon country and uncomfortable a truth that it maybe, Carl's statement is valid to understand the equation

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Obviously this is a hypothetical discussion but it is still remarkable that we are having it. Would we be even having the same discussion if the country in question were Australia?
Even a 'natural' ally Israel is finding going difficult since US interests override!

Therefore, if Israel is having problems, India has no hope in hell!

Hence, India is satisfied with the US as a 'friend'.

Last edited by Ray; 06-12-2011 at 04:46 PM.
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Old 06-12-2011   #5
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India is said to be having a 'strategic relationship' with the US.

[...]

Hence, India is satisfied with the US as a 'friend'.
Ray, thanks for your honest summation. Tat tvam asi.
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Old 06-25-2011   #6
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Default China’s View of South Asia and the Indian Ocean

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China’s View of South Asia and the Indian Ocean

Published on August 31, 2010 by Dean Cheng

The Indian Ocean is becoming increasingly important to China’s economic and security interests. China appears to be pursuing what has been widely characterized as a “string of pearls” strategy of cultivating India’s neighbors as friendly states, both to protect its economic and security interests and to balance a “rising India.” With Chinese influence in the region growing, it is essential that the U.S. not fall behind in the Indian Ocean, but maintain a steady presence in the region, both to signal its resolve to stay engaged and to avoid the difficulties of reentering a region.

http://www.heritage.org/research/lec...e-indian-ocean
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Quote:
As the People’s Republic of China (PRC) expands its global economic and security interests, one region of growing importance to Beijing will be the Indian Ocean area. Not only must a significant portion of China’s oil imports transit this region, but one of China’s enduring friends (Pakistan) and one of its long-time rivals (India) border this region, as well as China’s sensitive Tibetan flank.
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European colonialism ended Chinese and Indian isolation, both from each other and from the rest of the world, yet it affected the two major Asian powers very differently. India was conquered by the British and directly colonized. In the period of decolonization, the Indian Subcontinent was partitioned into Hindu-majority India and Muslim-majority East and West Pakistan (now Bangladesh and Pakistan, respectively).[1]

By contrast, although China retained nominal sovereignty, the Chinese view this period as the “Century of Humiliation.” From 1840 to 1945, China lost control of its destiny. During this period, foreigners collected China’s tariffs and taxes, were immune from Chinese law and prosecution, and ultimately were able to dictate China’s fate. When the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) won the Chinese civil war, Mao Zedong made a point to say that China would now “stand up.” For Mao and the rest of the CCP leadership, their victory marked the return of the ability of the Chinese to dictate their own future. This had two implications for Chinese views of South Asia.

The first implication is that Chinese territory is a unitary whole and inviolable. The “Century of Humiliation” saw foreign intrusions into China, the creation of concessions, and even the forcible removal of territory from Chinese control (e.g., Hong Kong and Taiwan). This would no longer be tolerated. In the South Asian context, from the perspective of the CCP leadership, Tibet, like Taiwan, is part of China, and any threat to Chinese control is wholly unacceptable.

The other implication is that China’s borders have been unduly affected and influenced by foreign pressure and domination, especially through the application of “unequal treaties.” Consequently, now that China is strong, it is Beijing that will determine whether it accepts the current borders or not. More to the point, from its perspective, China is under no obligation to accept borders that were demarcated by more powerful foreign parties.
See the Paragraphs on Chinese Relations with South Asian States.

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For the foreseeable future, Chinese strategic planners will need to pay increasing attention to China’s Indian Ocean flank. In the short term, China is concerned about its growing dependence on the sea lanes of communications for sustaining China’s economic growth. In 2010, for the first time, China imported more than 50 percent of its oil consumption. Chinese President Hu Jintao has already raised the issue of the Malacca Strait. There is little question that it is a key chokepoint on China’s oil supply routes. Part of China’s interest in developing alternative ports and pipelines, such as in Pakistan and Burma, would seem to be motivated by a desire to reduce the criticality of the Malacca Strait.

Even if China’s oil lifeline did not have to transit the Strait of Malacca, it would nonetheless traverse significant portions of the Indian Ocean. The growth of the Indian navy means that Chinese economic development is potentially at the mercy of India, as well as the United States. The forging of Indian security links with Japan and the United States is therefore a source of concern.
The Recommendations for U.S. Policy are also worth a dekko, as is Maintaining a Strong U.S. Presence in the Region.

*************

Given the rather interesting thread on the South China Seas and China, I thought that though dated article Aug 2010 would be worth discussing.

How much has changed in the strategic perspective in South Asia, the Indian Ocean and the South China Sea?

Where is it heading?

What are the options for those effected by the latest 'happenings' around South Asia and Asia Pacific countries?

How will China and the US handle the ever changing kaleidoscope in this region of South Asia and the Asia Pacific Rim?
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Old 06-25-2011   #7
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Default nixon was a hippie

Heritage's Dean Cheng offers these pointers in another 2010 analysis:

Quote:
U.S. Reaction

With regard to China’s maneuvering in South Asia, the U.S. should:

-Continue to build strong strategic ties to India and encourage India to play a more active political and economic role in the region. To help India fulfill that role, Washington should continue to seek a robust military-to-military relationship with New Delhi and enhance defense trade ties.

-Collaborate more closely with India on initiatives that strengthen economic development and democratic trends in the region and work with India to counter any Chinese moves that could potentially undermine such trends in order to ensure the peaceful, democratic development of South Asia.

-Cooperate with India in matching increased Chinese presence in the Indian Ocean region. Given the substantial Indian naval capabilities, U.S. naval forces should increase their interaction with their Indian counterparts, both to improve Indian naval capabilities and to signal Beijing that its moves will be matched jointly by New Delhi and Washington.

Leadership Needed

With an ascendant China determined to flex its diplomatic and military muscle, American leadership is needed now more than ever.
China's Indian Provocations Part of Broader Trend - Heritage Foundation - Sept 9, 2010.

***

Ray, you may also be interested in this speech by another "product of the Heritage Foundation":

Dinesh D'Souza Explains His Theory of the Obama Administration - Heritage Foundation - March 16, 2011.

The Economist has a take:

Against D'Souza - The Economist - Sept 30, 2010.

Last edited by Backwards Observer; 06-25-2011 at 09:41 AM. Reason: speling
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Old 06-25-2011   #8
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Originally Posted by Backwards Observer View Post
Heritage's Dean Cheng offers these pointers in another 2010 analysis:



China's Indian Provocations Part of Broader Trend - Heritage Foundation - Sept 9, 2010.

***

Ray, you may also be interested in this speech by another "product of the Heritage Foundation":

Dinesh D'Souza Explains His Theory of the Obama Administration - Heritage Foundation - March 16, 2011.

The Economist has a take:

Against D'Souza - The Economist - Sept 30, 2010.
I find Dean Cheng's article very incisive and he has summed it up well.

India is in the process raising and inducting two Division to bolster its defences and to ensure that China does not enter Indian territory and lay physical claim to the Indian State of Arunachal, which they call South Tibet.
That apart, India has purchased some C17 and are in the process of purchasing more of these strategic lifters, as also purchasing US 155mm Light Howitzers.

I could not see Dinesh D'Souza's video in it entirety as it had problems of buffering and finally crashed. However, what I could see and hear, was totally embarrassing and proved my point that these are the types who proved more loyal to the King than the King himself!

I agree with the Economist.
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Old 09-30-2011   #9
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These are links that could be read in conjunction.

Quote:
The Myitsone dam project was being developed jointly by Burma and China at the head of the Irrawaddy river, the confluence of the Mali and N'Mai rivers in Kachin state, in an area currently the scene of conflict between government forces and ethnic minority insurgents.

The vast majority of the electricity produced on the dam would benefit China, and the dam had served to inflame growing anti-Chinese sentiment in Burma, our correspondent says......

"The people [are] really happy and welcome the decision made by President Thein Sein because it wasn't only [Aung San] Suu Kyi, let me remind you of that.

"It's the population, the whole Burmese who feel they belong to the culture heritage of the Irrawaddy river. They welcome the news."....

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-asia-pacific-15121801
Quote:
Chinese mining company pulled out of what was to be Pakistan's largest foreign-investment deal because of security concerns, complicating Islamabad's effort to position its giant neighbor as an alternative to the U.S. as its main ally.


An official at China Kingho Group, one of China's largest private coal miners, said on Thursday it had backed out in August from a $19 billion deal in southern Sindh province due to concerns for its personnel after recent bombings in Pakistan's major cities.....

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000...644602028.html
It is extraordinary that closest of allies of China are bucking the friendship when China alone has stood by them against all world opinion.

The issues of discontent in Africa is understandable and so is the problems in the South China Seas, but this is really unexplainable.

Is China losing her grip?

If so, why?

And yet, I believe that China is speedily attempting to link China with Afghanistan and some speculate a greater role of China to include taking over the vacuum cause by the US drawdown.

What exactly is China's gameplan when things are not going her way and that too in otherwise without doubt the closest friends of China.

Given the Xinjiang is a headache for China and the string of pearls an important strategic cog, with both Pakistan and Burma being obtuse, what unfettered harvest can China reap in these two countries and add another one to its kitty - Afghanistan?!

I might as well add that China is in the process of linking Bangladesh to Kunming via Myanmar by road and rail and building a deep sea port for Bangladesh.

What will be the strategic scenario in Asia Pacific?

Last edited by Ray; 09-30-2011 at 06:37 PM.
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Old 09-30-2011   #10
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Given the Xinjiang is a headache for China and the string of pearls an important strategic cog, with both Pakistan and Burma being obtuse, what unfettered harvest can China reap in these two countries and add another one to its kitty - Afghanistan?!
What is there to harvest in Afghanistan, beyond misery and headaches that make Xinjiang look pale by comparison?

I see no reason for China to be even remotely interested in moving into Afghanistan, and many reasons why they would not. Why would they want to bite off the same gnarly lump that the Russians and Americans choked on?
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Old 10-06-2011   #11
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What is there to harvest in Afghanistan, beyond misery and headaches that make Xinjiang look pale by comparison?

I see no reason for China to be even remotely interested in moving into Afghanistan, and many reasons why they would not. Why would they want to bite off the same gnarly lump that the Russians and Americans choked on?
Let me play the Devils Advocate to my own wondering as to what China will gain from Afghanistan.

Quote:
The opening of Afghanistan’s first major railroad in August promises transformative economic and geopolitical changes that are yet to be fully understood. The recent completion of a railroad line from the Afghan-Uzbek border to Mazar-i-Sharif will be complemented by a railroad from Iran. Along with railroads planned by China and Pakistan, this will create economic synergies as Afghanistan is integrated with the railroads of its neighbors. Geopolitically, the Afghan railroads dovetail with China’s massive railroad program in Central Asia, Pakistan, and Iran. Further, as Iran, Pakistan, and Russia are hedging their bets on a U.S. troop withdrawal, railroads will strengthen their influence in Afghanistan. The railroad frenzy should be seen in this light.
Quote:
These barriers are now breaking up. Afghanistan and its vicinity are being covered with railroads and will soon be plugged into the railroad networks of China, Russia, Pakistan, and the Middle East. The inauguration of Afghanistan’s first railroad on August 20-21, running between Hairaton bordering Uzbekistan and Mazar-i-Sharif in the north, is only the beginning of a wide-ranging railroad effort involving all regional powers and international development banks.

For example, an Iranian-funded railroad is being constructed from the Iranian town of Khaf to the western city of Herat, and the Chinese are planning a north-south railroad running from Tajikistan, via Afghanistan’s Aynak copper mine, to Pakistan. China is also planning a railroad line from Sher-Khan Bandar in Tajikistan via Mazar-i-Sharif to Herat, with a branch to the Turkmenistan Railroads line at Towraghondi. A second phase envisions a Chinese-funded line from Mazar-i-Sharif via Kabul and Jalalabad to Torkham near the Khyber Pass connecting Afghanistan and China. Pakistan, too, is looking at extending its Chaman line to Kandahar in southern Afghanistan.
http://www.cacianalyst.org/?q=node/5629/print

This is possible an indicator of Chinese interests to include Afghanistan.

Obviously China has an economic aim as also a strategic aim.

One should not take China's approach to issues to be executed in a similar manner as to what the USSR or US did or doing.

They would not have become such a huge Empire as is the Han landmass or what is China today, if they went about it in any other way than what they have done. The very fact that, notwithstanding the reality that it is a variety of peoples that the Hans conquered, 92% of their population claim that they are Hans.

If they increased their land mass by doing it the way others did, then Xinjiang and Tibet should have been burning, but they are not!

One has to see the manner in which they are increasing their strategic reach without stepping on any country's toes.

It is the Chinese way of doing things that one has to understand. This Chinese way of doing thing is called Yongxiabianyi in Manadrin. It is does not believe in muscle power and instead is based on a complex persuasive power.

Therefore, what is China's real intent?

Last edited by Ray; 10-06-2011 at 01:48 PM.
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Old 10-06-2011   #12
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Originally Posted by Dayuhan View Post
What is there to harvest in Afghanistan, beyond misery and headaches that make Xinjiang look pale by comparison?

I see no reason for China to be even remotely interested in moving into Afghanistan, and many reasons why they would not. Why would they want to bite off the same gnarly lump that the Russians and Americans choked on?
That's not the question to ask. The question to ask is what is there for China to harvest in Central Asia, South Asia, and the Middle East? And the answer that is - a lot. Afghanistan can be a spoiler in any of those endeavors.

No empire actually wants to go into Afghanistan, but they are forced into doing so in pursuit of greater objectives.
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Old 10-06-2011   #13
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Question Are they?

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No empire actually wants to go into Afghanistan, but they are forced into doing so in pursuit of greater objectives.
Or is that simply a way to appear to have an ability to harvest (or something...). Many empires have gone there, most discovered, belatedly, that it really wasn't worth the trouble and then went elsewhere to achieve their goals...

There are many better ways to attain objectives than by stirring up folks who live in mountains. That is always a bad idea.
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Old 10-06-2011   #14
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That's not the question to ask. The question to ask is what is there for China to harvest in Central Asia, South Asia, and the Middle East? And the answer that is - a lot. Afghanistan can be a spoiler in any of those endeavors.

No empire actually wants to go into Afghanistan, but they are forced into doing so in pursuit of greater objectives.
Agree with Ken. Afghanistan has little or no bearing on Chinese engagement in Central Asia and South Asia and none on the Middle East. There's no incentive for China to go in and every reason to stay out.

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There are many better ways to attain objectives than by stirring up folks who live in mountains. That is always a bad idea.
Bein' one of them folks who live in the mountains, I have to agree...
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Old 10-07-2011   #15
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Afghanistan has little or no bearing on Chinese engagement in Central Asia and South Asia and none on the Middle East.
Really?

China wants a stable Central Asia, not least of all for the purposes of energy security, and domestic stability vis-a-vis Xinjiang. Afghanistan was a sanctuary and source of funding (via narcotics) for insurgencies in both Tajikistan and Uzbekistan during the 1990's. Instability in Afghanistan feeds instability in the CARs.

China wants to connect Pakistani ports (Gwadar) to western China through rail, road and pipeline. But Pakistan has no strategic depth with regard to its India front. Those connections would be disrupted in the advent of war with India since they are within easy striking distance. And this is to say nothing of Pakistan's own goal of maintaining control of Afghanistan for strategic depth. As the Sino-Pak partnership strengthens – so to will China's interest in Afghanistan.

With regard to the Middle East, China's principle interest is hydrocarbons and securing their transport. China aims to secure transport by opening up alternatives to Indian Ocean routes – namely through Central Asia and Pakistan (see above).
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Old 10-07-2011   #16
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China wants a stable Central Asia, not least of all for the purposes of energy security... Instability in Afghanistan feeds instability in the CARs.
...spluttered Vlad, "that might interfere with my plans..." (LINK).
Quote:
China wants to connect Pakistani ports (Gwadar) to western China through rail, road and pipeline. But Pakistan has no strategic depth with regard to its India front...As the Sino-Pak partnership strengthens – so to will China's interest in Afghanistan.
Does China want that or does Pakistan suggest that China wants that? Does Pakistan want that (to include routing through Afghanistan, thereby...) and receive lukewarm Chinese support? IIRC, China has already backed down on adding Naval facilities at Qwadar...
Quote:
With regard to the Middle East, China's principle interest is hydrocarbons and securing their transport. China aims to secure transport by opening up alternatives to Indian Ocean routes – namely through Central Asia and Pakistan (see above).
Do you know that is fact or is that simply a logical supposition that may be bruited by some commentators (to include Chinese). My check of the map indicates your inclusion of Pakistan makes little sense due to the difficulties terrain will impose routing either rail or pipelines through Afghanistan or Pakistan -- not to mention that India would likely object to any construction by either China or Pakistan in Kashmir. Better and cheaper a straight shot to Iran which supplies about 12% of Chinese oil, a figure likely to rise. There's already a large Ahwaz-Tehran line and a smaller one goes on up to Neka on the Caspian and plans to extend it into Turkmenistan are underway. The Shiraz line could be extended to Chah Bahar but the terrain is horrendous -- probably be cheaper to run a new line through the desert from Neka. Such routing also offers some 'protection' from any possible future Indian bellicosity, a line through Pakistan could and likely would be interdicted; one in Iran is far less likely to be trifled with.

Yemen and Oman provide almost 25% of China's oil and sea shipment is thus obviously required but Qwadar offers no significant military and only slight commercial advantage. Not to mention the Baluchis are not one bit favorably disposed. Of course, Baluchs can be bribed -- but like the Afghans, they don't stay bribed...

For that matter, Chah Bahar -- where the Chinese are also involved in port construction and operation -- is even closer.

Speculation is fine -- but it isn't fact. Stage management is a worldwide skill.

Last edited by Ken White; 10-27-2011 at 01:20 AM.
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Old 10-07-2011   #17
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Harvey Corman, Blazing Saddles:
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All that stands between us and that valuable property are the rightful owners.
Gwadar is intrinsically valuable as a port. It's trade area does not change by national status/control factors.

China's interest in basic Afghan resources is low-grade/future oriented. The railroad they will build will do the job. They will be happy as long as no one f----s with it.

Why would China want more hassles that produce no results. It ain't oil, gas or high grade ores.

Last edited by davidbfpo; 10-07-2011 at 10:28 AM. Reason: Citation in quotes
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Old 10-07-2011   #18
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Gwadar is intrinsically valuable as a port.
Gwadar's value as a port is actually fairly limited. It has good sea access to numerous ports, but on land it's nowhere: there's nothing for anyone to ship goods to and nothing there to ship out. As a point of transit it's too close to other established and much better equipped ports to have much relevance. Commercially viable, probably, but in no way the next big thing.

I think the talk of a Gwadar-China link is much overblown. Possible, yes, but of fairly marginal significance and nothing to get all fired up about. I very much doubt that the Chinese would wade into Afghanistan to advance that idea; it would be miles outside the parameters of any cost-benefit analysis.
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Old 10-07-2011   #19
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Default Is strategic depth valid today?

Is the often cited phrase 'strategic depth' actually relevant in modern strategic thinking?

It appears to be only cited in the South Asian context. Secondly, apart from distance and consequent impact on travel time, what does Afghanistan have to offer?

From this armchair there is very little to offer, albeit with some very modern airfields added since 2001; nor would any meaningful presence be sustainable locally.

From a puzzled civilian.
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Old 10-07-2011   #20
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Is the often cited phrase 'strategic depth' actually relevant in modern strategic thinking?
Probably not, but what's going on in some quarters in Pakistan may not be modern strategic thinking.

I can see how the Pakistanis would be upset at the idea of an Indian foothold in Afghanistan. I can also see how they might relish the prospect of baiting India into a substantial military commitment there. India would find it extremely difficult to supply and maintain a substantial force in Afghanistan, and a guerrilla war in Afghanistan is one of the few strategic scenarios in which Pakistan and its unconventional allies have an odds-on chance of defeating the Indians.

Of course Pakistan will protest any Indian move into Afghanistan. Behind the protests, though, would they really object to having India in a position where they can do unto them as they've done to the Russians and the US?
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